The prospect of undergoing a fortnight’s hard quarantine even though he’s fully vaccinated has become a major concern for Novak Djokovic as the nine-time champion hesitates over his participation in the Australian Open.
It has been widely reported that Djokovic is in doubt for the 2022 edition because he is reluctant to get vaccinated, although the world No.1 has never publicly disclosed his vaccination status.
But a full English transcript of Djokovic’s in-depth interview last week with Serbian daily Blic has surfaced and reveals that the 34-year-old also has fears of travel – for all players.
“The main problem is that if you are on a plane with a person [Covid-19] positive, whether or not vaccinated, you [have] stay in your room for 14 days, ”Djokovic said.
“It happened to Viktor Troicki in January of this year. Not only him but 70 players had to be in [hard] quarantine. I spoke to a lot of players and it was a bad memory for everyone. So I don’t know if I will go to Australia. I don’t know what’s going on. Currently, the situation is not good at all.
And the situation has deteriorated since Djokovic questioned his participation last week, with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Victorian Prime Minister Dan Andrews disagreeing on their stance against unvaccinated players.
As the PM says unstung stars are welcome to Australia on condition they complete 14 days in full quarantine, Andrews insists Victoria will not seek federal exemptions and ban unvaccinated players from even enter Melbourne Park.
Djokovic, the president of the newly formed Association of Professional Tennis Players, said many players fear being quarantined through no fault of their own.
“It was not a good experience for us [in 2020]. For example, it was quite difficult for Viktor Troicki, ”he said. “Some of us were in our 40s that we could train into. But if a person cannot train, then … put a professional athlete in this kind of [hard] 40s where he can’t leave the room and then expect him to perform at a certain level, really.
“Not to mention the increased risk of injury, of which there were many, including me, at this year’s Australian Open. If these conditions remain, I think a lot of players will really think about whether or not they go. But, in the end, the financial or economic aspect is the determining factor for many players.
Australian super-coach Darren Cahill says he sympathizes with Tennis Australia as the Open vaccination saga rages among political leaders.
“I’m sorry for Australia and Craig Tiley’s team, to be honest,” Cahill told SEN Radio on Thursday.
“Obviously they went to the federal government and received instructions that they would allow unvaccinated players to enter the country, even though they would have to undergo a few weeks of quarantine, could not go to restaurants in Victoria or go shopping – quite strict restrictions.
“And then Dan comes out and makes it clear that no one other than the vaccinated people will be allowed to play at the Australian Open. So at least we have some clarity for now, but Tennis Australia has kind of been the meat sandwich which has been a tough position for them as they tried to brief ATP and WTA. and let everyone know where they are.
“And at least now that you go back and say, ‘listen, you better get that jab or you won’t play.’ “